Growing consumer concerns about online privacy and building compliance pressure from governments have increased the necessity of detailed privacy policies to protect Australian small businesses.
But a startup launched this month is hoping to make compliance with Australia’s recently introduced privacy regulations simple and inexpensive for SMEs.
MyPrivacyPolicy provides companies tailored privacy policies for their website and business needs which are in line with Australian legislative requirements.
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The service aims to offer time convenience and affordability to SMEs with the process taking just a few minutes to register, for a price of $99.
According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, 74% of Australians are more concerned about their online privacy than they were five years ago, while 70% believe most or all websites collect information about them.
‘We’ve developed something that is designed to help small to medium businesses navigate a complex area very easily and at low cost,” says Wilson.
“In many cases, generating a policy with us may well be the first step they take in starting to address the way their organisation collects and manages customer information,” says Wilson. “We’re excited to be a part of that process.”
While Wilson says “publishing a policy is an important first step”, the “onus is then on the business to ensure that they comply with the promises of the policy across the organisation”.
In March, the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 came into effect, introducing 13 new harmonised privacy principles to the Privacy Act 1988 that regulate the handling of personal information, increasing the onus on business.
Monash University professor of law Justin Malbon told SmartCompany that a company is at risk of being sued if they have not taken the appropriate steps to protect personal data and that it is the customer that suffers as a result.
“[For the customer] it is essentially a matter of trust. People have a certain mistrust of what is going to happen to their data,” says Malbon.
“They may trust a well-known company, but if it is unknown they may not,” he says. “There is a competitive advantage if there are assurances to consumers that the information they pass on will not lead to things like identity fraud, misuse of financial information or inclusion in annoying marketing campaigns.”
Malbon says that while he is unable to comment on the effectiveness of privacy policies, from previous research in the area he believes “most people have a certain level of confidence to make an assessment of whether or not they can trust a website”.
“It would be good if there was a simple, trusted way of knowing that a site is trusted,” says Malbon.
Image credit: Flickr/yuri_samoilov